Category Archives: Langston Hughes

Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Langston Hughes,

Towards the end of May in 2020, a police officer’s video of an African-American being choked to death in May prompted riots to flare up across America. When demonstrations started in the US after George Floyd’s death, the Black Lives Matter movement gripped the world.

Many differences exist between the topic of your poem As I Grew Older and the Declaration of Independence. The injustice against colored people born in America today remains one of the most important aspects. The Declaration of Independence guarantees such unalienable and God-given rights of all Americans. Your poem, on the other hand, expresses the exact opposite. It contains reality. You can clearly read between the lines in the second and third stanzas that all of these personal rights, such as “life,” “liberty,” and “pursuit of happiness,” are not true for all people living in America, the so-called “land of limitless possibilities.” The Declaration of Independence also states that not all Americans follow the constitution. It is as if you were subjected to true discrimination and racism. Many of your hopes and aspirations were overshadowed by these issues, and you were unable to really experience the American Dream. Martin Luther King mirrored this central theme used in the Declaration of Independence. In the final stanza, there is a historical reference to Martin Luther King.

“My hands!

My dark hands

Break through the wall!” (6.24-26)

I see that you are attempting to break free from this system, that you are trying to solve all of your problems, as well as the nation’s problems, in the same way that Martin Luther King tried to do. As a result, the promised rights of liberty and life do not apply to all Americans. Similarly, the “desire” is unfulfilled. This right is guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence, but how can anyone live a happier life if they are discriminated against by citizens of their own country? The “can-do” spirit disappears as well; one of the most critical aspects of the American Dream is possessing a pioneering spirit, a deep desire to achieve all of one’s goals. Unfortunately, much as you had to suffer, this “can-do” mentality disappears as someone is unable to live up to his own nature.

“I lie down in the shadow.

No longer the light of my dream before me,

Above me.

Only the thick wall.” (4.19-22)

These are the reasons I can see why you denounce the United States of America and therefore the American Dream so strongly in your poems. You want to be “free at last,” as anyone should, and as Martin Luther King put it in his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Owing to the killing of Breonna Taylor, a medical worker, rage and indignation were already brewing. On March 13, Taylor was murdered in a police raid that got out of control. Police said they had a warrant to search Taylor’s apartment for two suspects who were going to sell cocaine from her apartment to prosecute. Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, fired a cop in the leg after the police broke the door off his hinges. The police replied by firing five times at Taylor. Detective Brett Hankison, one of the cops who has been shot since then, is alleged to have blindly fired ten bullets into the apartment.

The campaign saw an uptick in interest in 2020 with the revival of Black Lives Matter in global headlines in the midst of global protests.

The world is revolving for the better. I am thankful to have had your poetry to further understand how it is and how is shouldn’t be.

Thank you,

Megan Siu

Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Langston Hughes,

In our English class, we had to read a few of your poems. I realized that most of your poems use jazz and black folk rhythms. I also see you discussing topics such as the hardships of the black working-class lives and how the blacks are being mistreated, which I admire. your writing style allows me to understand how much hard work it took for the blacks to be whom they are today, while also learning about the history of the blacks.

One of your poems that I enjoyed analyzing is “Negro”. After reading this poem I was able to learn a lot about the history of the blacks while relating this poem to what problems the blacks still encounter in our society today. Throughout the poem, you used the words “slave”, “worker”, “singer” and “victims” to show what a negro does in the past. You also used “I brushed the boots of Washington” (6) to show the history of the blacks since after reading this line, I was able to identify that you were referring to the enslavement period. In the poem, you also used lines such as “They still lynch me in Mississippi” (16) to show what problems the blacks still encounter today, since you wanted us to understand the oppression of the past which is still happening today.

Another poem that I enjoyed analyzing of yours is “Dream Boogie”. In this poem, you wanted to show how the blacks were not being understood and that the white people should listen in which I have found interesting. However, how you have shown it was more compelling, you made us listeners assume that it is a happy beat “Listen closely: You’ll hear their feet Beating out and beating out a -” (4-7), while subtly trying to get us to understand “Listen to it closely: Ain’t you heard something underneath like a -” (10-13), but you decided to give up since us listeners don’t understand “What did I say?” (16).

After reading your poems, I hope that the messages of your poems would get spread out more broadly since numerous people around the world don’t understand how big the issue is in the messages of the poems you are conveying. Lastly, I would like to thank you for all your hard work and also for giving me the opportunity to read and analyze your poems.

Sincerely,

Jasper

Dear Mr. Hughes,

I request of you an opinion on a matter dear to me, of which I find no resounding, nor over-arching, resolution. As one, whom one may say, is naturally inclined to tinker with the weight of words, persuing the most arbitrary word compilations, perusing meaning where there might be none. In actuality, countless if meaning was in fact intended by an author, what if meaning has no truth? no firm basis in resonance? Mr. Hughes, I shall allow you to interpret as you will what meaning there is in preceding sentences.

Now I am not here to bore you with fickle matters of no value, at least I hope, and hope you find too. You have received many letters, from my mutual classmates/peers. I hold no doubt certain among such have irked your interest, or instead your irritation. Perhaps some have conveyed a formal and literal message, while others a powerful, or emotional, and figurative message. I yet hold no doubt that said letters have swayed you alternately from I (for I have too read them). Furthermore, I hold no doubt how you have interpreted the qualities of said letters has congrued with your meaning of value in literature, if certain assertions within literature are more worthy in value than others, and if the form shows merit in conjunction. Although, I understand your analysis of literature is much developed and refined over years, full of sway and rhythm, power and sensation. And I know the style forming your literature is unique, fresh, inventive, it follows the identities you have developed in the literary world.

So I ask you to ponder: what makes “good” literature? What do you look for/what does it need? Are the requirements for literature different from piece-to-piece I wonder? If so, I wonder if the meaning behind literature is much larger than imaginable, if it really is the realm of possibility? Yet the confusion is pertinent, for I understand that lots of the power in your prose is based on your dream of better life of minority classes. Therefore, is literature a figment of the real world, forever tied to our experiences? Mr. Hughes, I would love to know what motivates you as a person to write literature, and to know what you seek as you write literature.

Sincerely,

Trevor

Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Langston Hughes,

I have read few of your poems, and while reading some of your works, I learned about your writing style and how you structured your poems.  The wordings you use are relatively easy for me to understand, yet can also express deep thoughts. Your poems made me realise I underestimated the racism and learnt about black history.

After reading most of your poems, I found some similarities in most of the poems. It’s talking about chasing dream in early 1900s  and suffering from racism. As a black person it’s is tough back then, the poems let you express how you feel about the society. I can feel it through some of the poems that you wrote.

“And then the wall rose,

rose slowly,

slowly,

Between me and my dream.” – (As I Grew Older, II. 7-10)

The wall rose, you were referring to racism, blocking you to fulfil your dream. It’s a boundary that grows slowly and slowly until it becomes a wall that you can’t break through.

“My hands!

My dark hands!

Break through the wall!

Find my dream!

Help me to shatter this darkness,

To smash this night,

To break this shadow” – (As I Grew Older, II. 24-30)

These sentences sticks out in this poem, the tone sounds different. Again, you want freedom and justice. I can feel that you are passionate for declaring what is right and what is wrong. I feel like you want whoever is suffering from racism feel relatable when reading this poem, to resonate with the readers.

After reading your poem, I learn to sympathise people who are suffering from racism. Your words express pain, discomfort, and fear. Now it’s 2021, and racial discrimination still exists. I hope people can face this problem squarely. Not only black people, but many races also face the same problem. 

Sincerely,

Lydia Lam

Letter to Langston Hughes:

Dear Mr. Hughes,

Upon reading a few poems of yours, an obvious thing I noticed was many of the lyrics were about African Americans, a dream of freedom, and black lives. During a discussion with my classmates, I understood many authors wish to write about other genres but have the need to write about world events during tough times like wars, and I wanted to know if this was a situation you went through as well?

One of my most enjoyed poetry was “The Negro Mother,” the poem was easy to understand and explained in detail; it had a clear indication of imagery and talked about carrying on the legacy of achieving freedom. “All you dark children in the world out there, / Remember my pain, my sweat, my despair. / Remember my years heavy with sorrow– / And make of those years a torch for tomorrow.” (35-38). If I ever fought for freedom, I would want everyone to remember my sacrifice and carry on the legacy of achieving the justice required, and always protect those who cannot defend themselves. Another factor I thought was influential in the poem was the belief in God. “But God put a song and prayer in my mouth, / God put a dream like steel in my soul.” (18-19). My question to you is, did everyone believe in God? and what happened if someone were an atheist?

“Life Is Fine” is one of the poems I enjoyed as it was a change from presenting the idea of the suffering of African Americans to conveying a thought about how love influences us to do stupid things. “I tried to think but couldn’t, / So I jumped in and sank.” (1. 3-4). “I though about my baby / And thought I would jump down.” (4. 3-4). The poem conveyed a profound message about the struggles gone through by all of humanity; depression. It is an excellent example of how many people view suicide as a permanent resolution of their problems than actually fighting through them.

In the end, I would like to appreciate the diverse range of poems you have written. They express the fight for freedom and justice, the injustice humanity suffers, and great strength and resilience. I wonder which poem you are proud of the most.

Sincerely,
Divya Rajpal.

Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Mr. Hughes,

In my English class, we have been reading and analyzing your poetry. I find it fascinating to learn about, as it also inspires me to learn more about the Civil Rights era. I want to become more informed on these important issues and hope to do my best to support/help others.

One poem in particular I was drawn too, is “The South”. The language is strong and seductive, creating this image. With the help of personification, we can imagine these two women, and see how they act. It carries this dark imagery that I find powerful and bold.

The Sky, the sun, the stars,

The magnolia-scented South.

Beautiful, like a women,

Seductive as a dark-eyed whore,

Passionate, cruel,

Honey-lipped, syphilitic—

That is the South.

This is the South to the speaker, this beautiful but dangerous woman who he loves but cannot have. Unlike the the North, who is represented as “cold-faced” but is kinder. This poem can also represent the similars between love and hate, both passionate and powerful emotions to have towards someone. You can love and hate someone at the same time, this is what the speaker is feeling towards to South. For the North he carries no emotion, just apathy.

So now I seek the North—

For she, they say,

Is a kinder mistress,

And in her house my children

May escape the spell of the South.

The speaker must go to the North because he has too, otherwise he’ll suffer the South’s cruelty.

I look up to your courage to represent your community. You left a big impact globally, and I want to thank you. For sharing your experience, and giving a voice to the people who did not feel they could. And for helping me understand the history and discrimination that our systems are built on.

Fond regards,

Tia

A Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Mr Hughes,
Over the past few days, I have had the pleasure to read some of your poems, some of which have impacted me in different ways. The way you allow your words to flow with such strength is so refreshing. The importance of showing the strength black people have as well as what they had to endure is absolutely astounding.
In your poem “I, Too” you wrote the following:
I, too, sing America.


I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.


Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.


Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—


I, too, am America.

As someone who was adopted legally in the united states, but comes from India, I have dealt with the struggle throughout my life of being questioned as an American on the basis of my origin as well as my patriotism.

I grew up as a foreigner in Mexico, constantly asked questions like “Are you in favour of what Americans say about ‘your people’ whether that being about Mexicans or Indians. I struggled with being accepted as ‘one of their own’.
Throughout my childhood, I went through struggles of being a coloured student in a mostly white school, being questioned about my being good enough to study in said institutions. I would like to thank you for opening up about your experiences as a black man in a country which in times felt as though it was not yours to be in.

Letter to Langston Hughes

Jack Bradshaw

1939 Sooke Rd, Victoria,

BC V9B 1W2

January 11th 2021

Langston Hughes

Dear Langston Hughes,

I really enjoy your poetry and I think that it is filled with plenty imagery and emotion. I feel as though these poems were my favorite, Ballad of the Landlord and Life Is Fine.

With ballad of the landlord I could feel his emotion and just his overall anger/annoyance getting stronger throughout the poem with certain sentences and phrases.

“What? You gonna get eviction orders? 

You gonna cut off my heat? 

You gonna take my furniture and 

Throw in in the street?” 

With Life is Fine I could see more of a rollercoaster of multiple strong emotions like sadness, depression, and clarity in a way.

“I came up one and hollered! 

I came up twice and cried! 

If that water hadn’t a-been so cold 

I might’ve sunk and died.” 

 

“I stood there and I hollered! 

I stood there and I cried! 

If it hadn’t a-been so high 

I might’ve jumped and died.” 

 

“So since I’m still here livin’, 

I guess I will live on. 

I could’ve died for love– 

But for livin’ I was born”

My questions for these poems would be: Are these experiences based on your on experiences? If not then, How do you get these experiences? Is there a lot of draft poems? What is your process in making these poems? Is it a more creative process that comes naturally or is it like sitting down and making poems for a couple hours?

All in all I enjoyed these poems and to me they gave me a very open point of view of the injustice and racism people of color would receive during the 20th century.

Thanks for looking,

Jack.

 

 

 

Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Langston Hughes

throughout reading some pieces of your work, I have enjoyed learning about your style of writing and the creative and impactful ways you link your work with other references. Compared to other poems your vocabulary that you use in your poems is mostly very simple and easy to understand, but yet you are still able to convey points with deep context behind them, the fact that you can do this to me is impressive compared to other poets who use vocabulary from space.

The poems that we have read convey passion through your writing about racism and justice. All the poems I found relate to chasing the dream of having freedom throughout the early 19 hundred’s as a black person. Although I did not experience the south or racism you do an amazing job of painting a picture for the reader when reading your poems.

One of the poems that stuck out to me that made me think was Dream Boogie, this poem shows how slavery was and how black people had no choice but to pretend to be happy or they would be in trouble as if they were dogs on a leash  

 

Listen to it closely:

aint you heard

something underneath

like a–

What did I say?

sure

I’m happy!

Take it away !

in-class we came to the conclusion that this represents a slave talking about something that may be a complaint. he then decides to act as though he did not say anything to avoid trouble. This shows the amount of power the white people had over the blacks, equality was far from existent and it’s hard to think about. Writing about this must have been hard having the feeling as though equality with people of color would never happen. Did you ever think that there would be? I wonder if you would be happy with how far society has gotten with equality or disappointed?

your poems mostly all have the similarity of justice and chasing the dream of equality and it is well conveyed and is impactful to read. thankyou for your writing and showing what the world should look like one day, hopefully without racism of people of a different colour.

 

 

 

 

Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Mr. Hughes,

After reading some of your poems within class I wanted to tell you that I love how your poems are composed. Unlike other poems that I have read all of your poems are consistently simple. Your use of diction is easy to understand which helps make the meaning behind your poems easier to comprehend.

You have surrounded the subject matter of your poems around freedom and justice, and although they are simple they are filled with your passion for stating what is right and what is wrong within this world.  Even though your poems do not include many end rhymes which in ways better connects the poem, I feel that you did the right thing by mostly avoiding adding end rhymes because the way you present your different poems is more, in my opinion, persuasive without end rhymes. Often poets use end rhymes to adhere to the musical qualities poets have used in the past, to allow the reader to read the poem as it is meant to be heard. By avoiding this I feel it made your poems quite different from other poems. Within your poem “As I Grew Older” you wrote the following:

“My hands!

My dark hands!

Break through the wall!

Find my dream!

Help me to shatter this darkness,

To smash this light, To break this shadow–” (ll. 24-30)

The class had concluded that this poem was about racism, dreams, and optimism.  If this is true, what inspired you to make this poem about racism, dreams, and optimism? Other than this I love the way you used only vague imagery and not imagery that was extensive towards our view of the poem. The idea of optimism came up within this poem, especially in the last stanza:

“Into a thousand light of sun, 

Into a thousand whirling dreams

Of sun!” (ll. 31-33)

The speaker in the poem recites a dream he once had, and it seems you made the speaker express great optimism towards that dream. Or at least you had made me feel optimistic for the speaker and his dream. It seems you at times like using the idea of optimism within your poems since you had also showcased optimism within: “I, Too.” Within the last stanza, you wrote: “I, too, am America.” (l. 18) I feel this shows optimism within the speaker. The speaker is stating that he/or she is America itself and that it is something to feel proud of.

Your poems have changed the way I view poetry. I have learned that poems can vary in many different ways, they do not need to follow the norms of other poets from the past, and that in poetry you can express what you simplistically think about life.

Gratefully,

Armaan Singh Tumber

 

Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Mr. Hughes,

In 2013, the Black Lives Matter movement began. It was founded by three black women, in response to a recent murder of Trayvon Martin, an African American teenager, in which the murderer was found not guilty. In 2013, I didn’t know of this mouvement, nor the injustice black people faced on a daily basis due to the racism that encompasses the world. I was nine years-old, and I lived oblivious to this, because I could. I never had to be told as a child what to do if I was stopped by a police officer, I never had to be told that people would treat me unjustly due to my race. I was raised in a household where I was taught about racism and how wrong it is. However, I also grew up in a largely white neighborhood, with white privilege; thus, I wasn’t exposed to how severe it was for many.

Even through empathy, I will never truly comprehend how bad it can be for black people. Now, in 2021, I regularly follow the Black Lives Matter movement. However, no form of education comes anywhere near real-life experiences. I still live with white privilege. I have never been in a position of fear due to my race, and I wish you could have said the same. When I read your poetry, anger envelops me. Indignation towards the injustice you had to face. Rage at the racism and oppression that is still pervasive. Resentment towards all white people, past and present, that have suppressed others due to something as beautifully diverse as race. Identity isn’t something anyone should be harmed for; and yet, people who look like me have vehemently forced others into this position, to give themselves a feeling of superiority.

In, “As I Grew Older” and “I, Too,” you speak of the “dream” that many black people have ached for throughout their lives,

My hands!

My dark hands!

Break through the wall!

Find my dream!

Help me to shatter this darkness,

To smash this night,

To break this shadow

Into a thousand lights of sun,

Into a thousand whirling dreams

Of sun! (As I Grew Older, ll. 24-32)

As your life progressed, did your idea of this dream change? If you were alive now, would you feel as if you have achieved this dream, or are still fighting for it? Racism may have improved since your time; however, better doesn’t automatically equate to good.

In a time where hate feels indomitable, your poetry is a reminder of what people have overcome. Although the content in “Negro” may provoke sadness or anger due to the injustice demonstrated within it, it has strong tones of resilience and pride for everything black people have overcome. We see a range of suffering, from,

I’ve been a worker:

Under my hands the pyramids arose

I made mortar for the Woolworth Building. (Negro, ll. 7-9)

to,

I’ve been a victim:

The Belgians cut off my hands in the Congo.

They lynch me still in Mississippi. (Negro, ll. 14-16)

But despite the centuries of pain and injustice conveyed through this, you still manage to make it a poem raising existential questions regarding identity. Who are we?, one may ask, to which this poem responds,

“I am a Negro:

Black as the night is black,

Black like the depths of my Africa. (Negro, ll. 1-3)

This feeling of identity has an impenetrable strength to it. I can imagine the bond you have created between people who have similar trauma engraved within their identities.  Not only does it show a  progression of black history, it shows hope; hope for the futureーfor the aforementioned “dream”.

In your past society and our present one, harmful stereotypes about black people have been propagated. In, “Deferred,” you broke the detrimental idea that black people were all the same, by presenting individuality through different speakers,

All I want is

one more bottle of gin.

All I want is to see my furniture paid for. (Deferred, ll. 29-31)

Then, in, “Dream Boogie,” you portray the false facades of happiness black workers were forced into by their white employers,

Sure,

I’m happy!

Take it away! (Dream Boogie, ll. 15-17)

In these debunkings, we receive a taste of previous stereotypes, allowing us to reflect on the progression of our society. Did you ever suspect your poetry would be seen by people who weren’t even aware of the stereotypes that were so prevalent for you?

Throughout your diverse collection of poetry, we experience an outpouring of pain, hope, resilience, and strength. We observe a contrast between the beautifully seductive language used in “Harlem Sweeties”, the bluesy humour in “Life Is Fine”, and the powerful, dreamlike imagery in “As I Grew Older”. I wonder if you would be pleased with the impact your poetry has had on people globally, or satisfied with the manner in which we are studying it.

Thank you, deeply, for allowing us to live within your work.

With high appreciation,

Amy Norris

Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Mr. Hughes,

You wrote As I Grew Older when you were only about 20 years old. There is almost a sacredness about it. “Bright like a sun—/ My dream.” (ll.5,6) There are no other pronouns other than “I,” so I could only assume that you are the speaker. Your dreams and your hopes, expressed through vague imagery, is unpolished yet impactful.

Help me to shatter this darkness,

To smash this night, 

To break this shadow

Into a thousand lights of sun, 

Into a thousand whirling dreams 

Of sun! (ll.28-33)

You expressed the contrast between your dreams and the bitter reality by referencing light and darkness. Words such as “shatter,” “smash” and “break” gives such momentum as we picture a strong force penetrating the dark barriers to let light shine through.

When you wrote The South, along with The Weary BluesRuby Brown, and Life Is Fine, your poems have commonly expressed resentment of the present reality. You also seemed to have developed sarcastic humor that reflects the hardships of life, perhaps due to the Blues’ influence. “Life is fine! / Fine as wine! /Life is fine!” (Life is fine, ll.31,32) Life was never fine. I think you have seen and experienced quite a lot more since As I Grew Older, as your poems also tell stories.

Since 1951, your poems have begun to mention dreams again. And not just that, it gives me the feeling that you are combining dreams and reality.

In Montage of a Dream Deferred, you began playing with space and time by arranging short clips of several distinct speakers telling their dreams. Even if it’s something out of the blue like learning French or taking up Bach, or even if all the person wants is one more bottle of gin; through different times and space, these voices all connect.

Then in Dream Boogie, you showed us that it isn’t just the individual dreams that are deferred; collectively, as a whole, the dream of freedom and equality of African Americas are deferred. “Ain’t you heard/ The boogie-woogie rumble/ Of a dream deferred?” (ll.2-4) The low rumblings are not words; it is through the language of music.

“Listen closely: 

You’ll hear their feet 

Beating out and beating out a—

 

You think It’s a happy beat?” (ll.5-7)

You have the power to express this repressed anger through speech and rhythms. And I can only conclude that this is due to its musical qualities, “Hey, pop! /Re-bop! /Mop! / Y-e-a-h!” (ll.18-21) Such a short stanza tells so much. It makes us listen to it, other than to read it.

As time progresses you experimented with different forms and techniques in your poems. you played with not just only imagery but also the other senses such as taste (Harlem Sweeties) and hearing (the Blues, Jazz Ringo, etc.). You experienced life and met other people, and got to know their dreams, not just your own. But it is the same dream. Looking back to As I Grew Older, you stated at the very first line:

It was a long time ago.

I have almost forgotten my dream. (ll.1,2) 

Yet this is a dream you have dedicated to during your entire life. It isn’t just “your dream,” it is a dream of freedom, of everyone’s freedom. You mentioned that the barrier, the “wall” almost cast your dream away, “Rose until it touched the sky—/ The wall.” (ll. 15,16) No matter how much your poems change in structure, what musical form you take on, or what stories you tell, you always attack this Wall that has been ever-present but needs to be broken down. You have always had the same dream.

Sincerely,

Cecilia Chen

 

WDolan_Letter_To Langston_Hughes

Langston Hughes

January 11 2021

William Dolan

Student

Brookes Westshore

1939 Sooke Rd, Victoria, BC V9B 1W2

Colwood, British Columbia

 

Dear Mr. Langston Hughes,

I am writing this letter to tell you how much I enjoy your poetry. I especially found  “Ruby Brown” and “Negro” to be interesting and thought provoking.

My questions for you would be; How do you start your poems and what influences your ideas? What poet inspires you the most. What is your idea of blues poems? What blues structure do you prefer? What emotions do you think they should create? What is your favorite form of poem? I noticed you use multiple structures, topics, and moods throughout your works.

I found it easy to experience the mood you may have been feeling when you wrote “Ruby Brown”.  The emotion I encountered was joy and sadness.

“She was young and beautiful
And golden like the sunshine
That warmed her body.
And because she was colored
Mayville had no place to offer her,
Nor fuel for the clean flame of joy
That tried to burn within her soul

However with “Negro”, I felt emotions that included sadness, frustration and empathy. In the poem, you talk about black people’s contributions from the continent of Africa, to the country of America. Unless you take history, readers may not know what you mean by:

“The Belgians cut off my hands in the Congo.
They lynch me still in Mississippi.”

Did you initially question whether the vast majority of people would know what this means? What mood were you experiencing while writing this poem, and how do you view the world? Should more art like your poetry be included to promote different perspectives to make a better society?

I enjoyed your works and their creative content. They have benefitted my education about the arts and my heritage.

Thanks, and best wishes,

William Dolan